Cole Palmer keeps his cool for England breakthrough in victory over Bosnia

<span><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Cole Palmer;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Cole Palmer</a> celebrates scoring his first <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:England;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">England</a> goal in their warm-up victory.</span><span>Photograph: Mark Leech/Offside/Getty Images</span>

Gareth Southgate decided to make his move. The hour had passed and although his experimental England team was getting closer, he wanted to introduce the big gun, his captain Harry Kane, from the bench – plus four others including James Maddison and Jack Grealish. There would also be the thrill of debuts for Jarrad Branthwaite and Adam Wharton.

Kane had taken off his tracksuit but there would be one last action because the VAR had spotted something amiss inside the Bosnia and Herzegovina box as they defended a corner. It soon became apparent that the defender Benjamin Tahirovic had a hold of Ezri Konsa’s shirt. It was a clear penalty and Kane had to be licking his lips at the prospect of getting on to take it for his 63rd England goal.

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Instead, he was held back and the responsibility fell to a player at the other end of the international experience spectrum – Cole Palmer, on the occasion of his full debut. Palmer is famously cold from the spot and he was never going to pass up this one, his first senior England goal a special moment.

Southgate’s team had flattered to deceive in the first half, save for a few flashes from another full debutant, Eberechi Eze, plus a few more by Palmer. The penalty settled them, liberated them ahead of the grand Euro 2024 kick-off. After one more warm-up friendly against Iceland at Wembley on Friday, it will be all systems go for the tournament opener against Serbia on Sunday week.

There would be further tonics. Trent Alexander-Arnold had been moved from the right centre midfield role in Southgate’s 4-2-3-1 to right-back after the mass substitutions but how he affected the game from there. One long diagonal over to Grealish took the breath and almost enabled Maddison to score but not as much as the volley for 2-0, Alexander-Arnold fizzing it low and clean into the far corner from a tight angle. There was a glorious nonchalance about it. Wharton, playing with a maturity that belied his 20 years, had gone left to Grealish and he got the assist with a floated cross.

Conor Gallagher – singled out for post-match praise from Southgate – went close to 3-0, denied by the goalkeeper Nikola Vasilj after a surging run, before Kane, inevitably, did gloss the scoreline. The goal had featured smart approach work from Grealish, Maddison and Jarrod Bowen and, when Konsa could not set his feet for a close-range finish, Kane could.

There has been plenty of fretting about Southgate’s defensive problems with Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw injured; John Stones coming off an uneven club season. There is rather less doubt about the attacking riches and this was a game to show them off. It was not perfect. Yet when England cut loose, there was much to enjoy.

It was easy to feel that it was a bad sign for Grealish to have been among the substitutes, after he reported early for duty last week following the FA Cup final in which he did not get on for Manchester City. He would change the narrative sharply, ­playing with a point to prove, although he was hardly the only one. Southgate had started with Bowen, Palmer and Eze, right to left in the line behind the striker, Ollie Watkins, and opportunity had knocked loudly for all of them.

Euro 2024 hosts Germany missed scores of chances and dominated for much of the game against Ukraine on Monday but could not find a winner as their penultimate warm-up game before the tournament ended 0-0.

Germany, without Real Madrid and Dortmund players in the lineup following Saturday's Champions League final, started at a fast pace and with high pressing.
Ilkay Gündogan should have put them in the lead in the 16th minute, but failed to connect properly with Pascal Gross' cross.

Julian Nagelsmann's side came close again early in the second half but Kai Havertz [pictured] headed wide in the 53rd minute. Substitute Maximilian Beier came even closer with his first touch, hitting the crossbar from a tight angle and then forcing a save from goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin. Reuters

Eze looked assured on the ball, those lovely feints to the fore. He will beat you from a standing start. Premier League fans know that and the small contingent of Bosnia and Herzegovina fans, up in the St James’ Park gods, quickly realised it. Palmer had a few moments before the interval, ushering in Watkins for the first chance. Watkins might have gone to ground as Nikola Katic grappled with him. He instead shot straight at Vasilj.

The atmosphere was subdued in the first half, apart from when Kieran Trippier, the Newcastle hero and England captain at the outset, got on the ball. Or when Jordan Pickford did likewise. The Sunderland boy heard boos from the locals, although the England diehards who had travelled from further afield chanted his name.

England gave the crowd little to get excited about before the interval. They did not move the ball with sufficient zip and against big, physical opponents, set up in a rigid 5-4-1, it was all a little clogged. Bowen wanted to get in behind up the right but Eze’s inclination was to drift inside. Trippier was never going to get up and outside from left-back.

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Eze burst away from three challengers in the 27th minute – a breathtaking and isolated incision – the ball spinning for Konsa, who won a corner. From it, Konsa again got a break and stabbed low for goal. Vasilj saved smartly. Bowen shot low at the goalkeeper on 45 minutes.

The crowd tried to rouse England after the restart. The noise levels went up significantly, consistently. They implored the team to bring more against the nation ranked 74th on the Fifa list. It worked. Palmer flickered, seeing one shot deflect wide after a trademark shoulder drop, almost creating a yard for himself on another occasion following a low Bowen cut-back.

The breakthrough was coming. When Eze worked the ball wide after a corner, Bowen banged in a low shot and watched it deflect for a corner. Kane and the raft of replacements were stripped. England would strike before they got on.